Apple may risk Norwegian tax bill

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The European Commission believes a number of countries may be entitled to more tax from Apple. In Norway, the Directorate of Taxes spoke on the matter with great interest.

The European Commission decided this week that Apple must pay up to 13 billion euros in penalty tax to Ireland, plus interest.

The reason is that Apple has paid so little tax in Ireland that the EU believes it constitutes illegal state aid. Commission estimates show that Apple’s effective tax rate fell down to 0.005 per cent in 2014.

But competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager also says other countries may be entitled to a portion of the money. Including Norway.

Open invitation

When Vestager presented the European Commission’s decision this week, she came with an open invitation to other countries to look into the matter.

The surplus in Ireland originates namely due to sales of Apple products throughout Europe as well as in the Middle East, Africa and India. Apple’s practice has been to record all sales in Ireland, regardless of where the product is sold.

– Whether you buy your iPhone in Berlin, Rome or somewhere else, you enter into the purchase contract with Apple Sales International at Cork in Ireland, explained West Villager.

According to her, it is not certain that all the unpaid tax liability ends there.

– Other countries, both in the EU and elsewhere, can now see on our investigation and take advantage of our information and assessments. If they conclude that Apple should have registered sales there rather than in Ireland, they may require that Apple must pay more taxes in their countries.

It will reduce the sum to be paid to Ireland, said Vestager.

Tax Directorate will take the magnifying glass to Apple

NTB is aware that employees in Tax Administration in Norway are now going to sit down for a careful reading of the documents from the EU.

What conclusion will be, only time will show.

– It is too early to say whether this matter has a direct impact on Norway, but we may well assume that it may have consequences for other companies within the EU’s jurisdiction.

It will be interesting to follow developments in the case, says tax director Hans Christian Holte.

He stressed that he can not comment on Apple’s specific tax situation.

– But in general we can say that the tax authorities follow through on public information, trends and developments that may affect the inspection activities agency practice, says Holte.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today